“There is no more Aztec Bowl. It’s over,” said lead singer Adam Hay of Watch It Burn. “I heard people just today say they should do this once a month...but you know what? It’s done.”
Watch It Burn played at “The Final Frame — a predemolition party July 22 celebrating the end of the North Park bowling alley. It closed down forever last Thursday.
“Its ripping a piece of San Diego history out of our fingers,” said Ryanne, who has been coming to live punk shows at the bowling alley for two years. “They are tearing it down to put in fucking condos. Who’s going to buy condos off 30th and Adams?”
Aztec Bowl (which is not associated with SDSU) featured live bands and DJs near the lanes and in the lounge.
"I think what we did was to prove there was a niche for this kind of entertainment," said Aztec Bowl manager Michael Velasco about the marriage of bowling and music. "It's no secret this industry is having trouble and that league bowling has been going down in attendance every year for the last ten years. We feel vindicated that we proved that our way of promoting bowling worked."
But in spite of his success in using music to reinvent the bowling experience, Velasco said the huge demand for housing killed Aztec Bowl. The land value was too good for the owners to pass up. They got a real good offer from a developer who will build condos."
And that is a shame, says ones Aztec regular named Tony. "I grew up in this neighborhood, and I think it's a damn travesty they're tearing this down. I was here bowling when I was 13. It's a'70s-style bowling alley...it's not...digital. Plus their music nights are different from the whole bar scene."
"It was like family here," said Taryn. "It's not overpriced and everybody gets along."
"Not only are the lanes really good, but the atmosphere is classic," said Derek Hugunin, who played bass for Machinegun at the final party. "The location of this place is central to San Diego It's in the heart of everything. Look at the number of clubs in this area. There's Club Xanth, Scolari's Office, Shooter's Tuba Man's. The Ken Club is just up the road.
Velasco says the remaining local bowling alleys are too narrow-minded to figure out that music is good for bowling.
"San Diego (bowling alleys) are old school. Change is not something they accepted. They are content with the old ways like relying on bowlers who go to a league five times a week. But that just isn't happening anymore. I don't anticipate any other alleys reaching out to the younger crowd."
Watch It Burn appears tomorrow at Club Xanth (all ages) and Saturday at Scolari's Office.